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Life on the Ledge

3rd May 2015

NGCV members operate iconic buildings across Tyne and Wear and sometimes this brings surprising opportunities to help preserve the natural world.  BALTIC's Kittiwake Cam offers a glimpse into the life of birds who have made the centre for contemporary art their home. 

Footage taken by specially-installed cameras will allow the public to watch the River Tyne’s internationally important Kittiwake colony during its breeding season. The footage forms part of an exhibition at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, which will run from the 30th of April to the 14th of June.

The River Tyne is home to an important breeding population of around 975 pairs of Kittiwakes, including a colony of around 700 pairs at NewcastleGateshead Quayside. The kittiwake colony on NewcastleGateshead Quayside is recognised as being the furthest inland nesting site of kittiwakes in the world. Through this project, people will have the opportunity to get a glimpse into the lives of the kittiwakes throughout their breeding season and to develop a deeper understanding of the birds’ needs.

Anne Gladwin, Grants Officer at Durham Wildlife Trust, said: “This colony is the furthest inland of any in the world and is of considerable natural heritage interest. The Kittiwakes have become a unique and welcome feature of the urban landscape, creating local interest and pride. However there can be some conflict between the needs of the kittiwakes and other interests in the area, in relation to potential mess, noise or perceived damage that they cause.”

People can follow the progress of the colony through part of their lifecycle as they return to the area, make their nests, incubate their eggs, watch the chicks hatch and follow the adult birds as they care for the chicks and finally see the young gulls fledge and leave the colony.”

The footage will be available to view in a dedicated learning space at BALTIC via plasma screens with supporting information, Spotlight Tours, a programme of artist workshops in schools and interpretive material. Members of Baltic Crew will be available to speak with visitors and to give a greater insight into the lives of the kittiwakes. The public can also view live footage from the Kittiwake Cam via Durham Wildlife Trust’s website.

Anne said: “Both these audiences will, hopefully, build up a greater relationship with the gulls, learning about their ecology and behavior, enjoying their adventures, and as a result, develop a greater affinity for their needs and care about their future. The project is working towards emphasising the importance of the kittiwakes to the central Newcastle/Gateshead area and help to maintain support for the conservation of the breeding colony into the future.”

Visit www.durhamwt.co.uk/kittiwake-cam to view live footage and to find out more about the Kittiwake Cam project. Kittiwake Cam is funded by a £10,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the Sharing Heritage programme.



Durham Wildlife Trust's purpose is to protect wildlife and promote nature conservation in County Durham, the City of Sunderland and the boroughs of Gateshead, South Tyneside and Darlington. Through the management of 31 Nature Reserves and a variety of species and habitat recovery projects, the Trust is one of the most active environmental organisations in the region. By acting as a focus for a variety of community groups, schools and individuals, the Trust engages people in the issues around nature conservation and the wider environment. It also manages two visitor centres and campaigns on behalf of more than 8000 members. More information at www.durhamwt.co.uk

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

From the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife, we use National Lottery players' money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about.  www.hlf.org.uk.


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